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Footnotes have long been the bane of many a designer's existence. How to make them? How to format them? How to keep them near the text they refer to? Microsoft Word makes footnotes easy, so people figure that InDesign should too. Of course, there is a big difference between a word processing program and a page layout program. And that said, InDesign does make footnotes pretty easy as long as you don't want to do anything too fancy. Let me show how to do it. I am going to place my cursor in this paragraph down here by double-clicking, and I will go into 200% view by pressing Command+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows. I will pan down and I would like to add a footnote after this word exotic. So I place the cursor there, I go to the Type menu and I choose Insert Footnote, it's as easy as that. The footnote shows up in the text after the word and at the bottom of the column we get the same number.
I will just type some text here. Let's try and add another one. I will put the cursor where I want it, I will go to the Type menu, I will choose Insert Footnote, and we can see that we get a number two footnote here. I am just going to type some other random text in here, just so you get the idea that as I type, it will automatically expand that area to fit the entire footnote. Sometimes I lose track of where the footnote reference is. The number up in the text is called is the Footnote Reference and down here is the footnote itself.
So, let's say I want to try and find where the footnote reference number one is. All you have to do is place the cursor in that footnote, go back to the Type menu and choose Go to Footnote Reference. Now the cursor immediately jumps right back up to the number one. I should point out that the formatting of these footnotes is really pretty ugly, but that's okay. We can format this any way we want. For example, this is just text. I can select a word in there and make it italic with Command+Shift+I or Ctrl+Shift+I on Windows, and that's formatted it.
But if you want to format the entire paragraph or basically all the footnotes throughout your document, don't try and format them one at a time, instead go up to the Type menu and choose Document Footnote options. I will turn on the Preview checkbox so I can see what I am doing while I am working, I will move it out of the way a little bit. There are many options in here, so let's take them one at a time. The Style pop up menu lets you choose what your footnotes will look like, either regular numbers or Roman numerals or symbols or asterisks, pretty much anything you would want here.
I am going to leave them as regular numbers and you can choose whether you want to start at one or some other number. In fact, you can also choose whether you want to restart that numbering every page, each spread or each section of your document. In this case, I want the numbers to increase throughout the entire document. So I will just leave that checkbox off. There is also an option for Show Prefix and Suffix, and you can change that in either the Footnote Reference, the Footnote Text, or both the Reference and the Text. For example, I will set this to Footnote Reference, which remembers the number up here in the text itself. And I am going to put a prefix, which is a bracket, and I will do another one over here. I am just typing brackets, these square brackets in here. And as I do that, notice that the brackets show up in the text as a prefix, meaning before the number and a suffix, after the number.
Now it's time to change the formatting of our footnotes. First, we can see that the position of that footnote reference in the text again up here in the text, is set to Superscript, but I could change this to Subscript if I want to or set to Normal, and it goes right in the middle of the text. Some people like that kind of thing. I am going to leave it set to Superscript. If I had a special character style I wanted applied to that, I could choose it from this pop up menu. We can see that the reason that this footnote down here is so ugly is that it's set to the basic paragraph.
I have set up a paragraph style for footnotes already and I am going to choose that out of this pop up menu. As soon as I do that, you can see that the footnote paragraph style is applied. I also see that there is too much space between the number and the footnote itself. That's controlled by the separator field. The code that's here right now is the code for a tab character. So I am going to delete that and instead type a period, a dot, and then I will pull out of this little fly out menu, the En Space, because I don't remember what the code for En space is. There we go, a dot and then an En space, and we can see that its' updated here.
That looks pretty good. But we are not done yet. Next we need to go to the Layout tab of the Footnote options dialog box. Here we can control all the things about how the footnote appears, not the formatting, but how or where it appears on the page. For example, we can set the amount of space between the footnote and the text before it. Let's make this a little bit bigger. I will just press Shift+Up Arrow to add more space above the footnote line. We can also adjust where the first Baseline of each footnote sits. Right now it's at the Leading, which is usually what you would want. But let's say, you want it set it to X height. That really squishes everything down and makes it look really ugly, but it's nice to know you have an option. Let's set this back to Leading, and look at the Placement options. The Place End of Story Footnotes at the Bottom of Text sounds like it's a way to create End of Notes. That is, put all your footnotes at the end of the story, but it's not. In fact InDesign does not have any such thing as End of Notes, only Footnotes.
What this checkbox does is it allows you to place the footnotes on the last page of the story, wherever it is at the last page, it allows you to put the footnotes right up flushed against the end of the text, instead of down at the end of the column. Allow Split Footnotes let's you split a really long footnote, like maybe you have a whole paragraph footnote. It will allow it to split it up over two columns if it needs to. I will show you an example of that in a moment. The rule above, of course controls this rule above the footnotes. Normally it's set to one point, which is just way too thick in my book. It always looks really ugly. So I am going to set this to something smaller, maybe half a point, something a little less dense. But you can also change the color if you want to, change the type to any of the stroke styles within the document, and I will go wild if you want to. Let's go ahead and click OK and see how it looks. Pretty good! But now I am going to switch back to the Selection tool and I am going to adjust the height of this text frame to give less space at the bottom.
Look what happens. That footnote, this long one, actually split across two different columns. That's because that Split and Footnote checkbox is turned on. I also see that this rule over here is thicker than the one over here. That's kind of weird. Well if we want to change those things, let's just head back to the Document Footnote options dialog box and I will click on the Layout tab, and I can see that the Rule Above- First Footnote in Column was set, but I forgot to change the Continued Footnotes. Here they go. Let's say, I don't want any rule there. So, I will just turn the Rule On checkbox off, and I will say don't allow split footnotes. Now I will just move this dialog box out of the way and I can see that the footnote is not splitting, the rule here is showing up because of the first footnote in the column. Let's go ahead and allow Split Footnotes again, here we go and we can see now, it's splitting across but there is no rule. So it's up to you.
I mentioned earlier that InDesign has no endnote feature. Well there is a lot of other limitations on footnotes as well. For example, let's zoom back here a little bit and I can see that on this page, there is something that's causing text wrap. Let's move this down to the bottom of the page, down here, then I will zoom in again to 200%, and we can see that it's causing text wrap up here but not down here. Why? Because for some weird reason, footnotes are completely immune to text wrap. It's just one of those limitations in InDesign. Let me show you one other limitation of footnotes. I will move this object out of the way and I want to see if I can make this footnote at the bottom straddle across both columns in the story. And the answer is unfortunately no, you cannot do that, there is no straddle footnotes. It can only fit within a single column.
But even with all of these various limitations, InDesign footnotes offer plenty to keep most document creators happy.
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